The Dragon Journals
The Dragon Journals

Journal Archives: January 2003 - July 2003.

January 2003

Not too much to say: it's my 'busy' month...

The trials and tribulations of being an accountant! For the first time in years, I attended most study group sessions but had very little time for training. With Shifu arriving in February, at least I could attend the group.

In the end I wasn't nearly as ready as I could have been, but lived to tell the tale ;)

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February 2003

Downloadable zip files removed.

Workshop February 14 - 15, 2003. Introduction to "The five circles and six stances" removed to website space - email me if you want them.

Feb.26 quick 2 observations: (1) I can open a jar of hot peppers using 'whole body' power but not any other way and (2) I no longer trip over things; if I've not noticed something in my way it's now my habit to step around it somehow. COOL.

March 2003

...still here... the long awaited website redesign is "in progress" :)

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April 2003

Training Notes
April 1, 2003 - Martial study group 19h30-21h00. Basics, willow bends, twin dragons with Tim.
April 2, 2003 - Exercise bike: 17 minutes, setting "plateau", 105 calories, level 3
April 3, 2003 - Exercise bike: 17 minutes, setting "plateau", 116 calories, level 3
April 4, 2003 - Exercise bike: 17 minutes, setting "plateau", 142 calories, level 4
Bagua mid-day: daoyin warmups, linear walking focus on ba step, five circles (side to side only)
April 5, 2003 - Midnight bagua (before bed): daoyin warmups (slow)
April 6, 2003 - Exercise bike: 20 minutes, setting "plateau", 127 calories, level 3

Bagua evening: quiet sitting (19 minutes), daoyin warmups, quiet standing (12 minutes), shifting side to side with focus on proper knee alignment and holding hands to feel 'cross the great river'.
April 7, 2003 - Exercise bike: 22 minutes, setting "plateau", 150 calories, level 3 April 7, 2003 - Exercise bike: 22 minutes, setting "plateau", 150 calories, level 3
Bagua midnight: quiet sitting 15 minutes, 9 clearing exercises.
April 8, 2003 - Bagua principles - study group

Thoughts for the month
April 5, 2003 - "Train Daily. Practise 24/7.These words or something to that effect have been repeated often, and struck home during my visit to the Gompa last October when I asked Shifu Alan Marshall what would be a good time (duration, repetitions) to practise. His reply struck me because the words 'train' versus 'practise' are used to show a different subtlety of meaning.

Training is the time we put aside to focus on our bagua skills, and on nothing else. It is a time put aside to sit and/or stand quietly, to practise new exercises/skills taught during workshops and honed in study group, to ask the three questions ("What do this do? How does it do it? How do I train it?"); among this and other things, to train implies a dedicated, concentrated, focused effort.

Practise on the other hand, is putting the training into effect. This leads to the 24/7 comment. Shifu Painter has on more than one occasion, pointed out that if we walk a certain way most of the day, then use a different walk for our training, we are more likely to continue to walk the way we walk "all day". So since baguazhang trains certain walking, turning, posture - this is what we should be doing 24/7. If I reach out with my hand it should be a 'whole body' effort. The same principles at work all day - not just during the time we put aside to train.

I continue to think of this despite my belief that I do practise 24/7. This is because I notice the "24/7" more at certain times. For example, I now always sit upright at my computer (and strangely enough at the front of the seat). I don't get cricks in my neck in the shower simply because even half-asleep I am aware of my posture. But when I'm in the kitchen reaching for a glass in the cupboard the connection is not always there. I notice these changes and try to correct them. That's 24/7.

April 6, 2003 Enjoyed training this afternoon. Weakness seems to be 'cross the great river'; this is a basic idea that I understand but haven't been very good at training sensitivity. Have asked the Jiulong group on "Yahoo!" for help with this work.

April 7, 2003 Would like to get a regular training schedule established but have decided to be glad of the small victory of daily "something". Planning to get up earlier to start a morning routine but I'm not a morning person! Wish me luck ;)

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May 2003

Training Notes.
April 9 - May 12, 2003 - missed several classes due to work, still working on 'cross the great river'
May 13, 2003 - Bagua principles study group, legs shaky - need to get back on bike.
May 15, 2003 - Qigong then Research group, some good ideas from Jan for 'cross the great river'
May 17, 2003 - still working out best feedback from training tubes.
May 19, 2003 - Exercise bike: 20 minutes, setting "interval", 131 calories, level 4.
Yoga stretching (Ashtanga exercises; approx 25 minutes). Gardening!

Thoughts for the month
May 19, 2003 Two steps forward, three steps back... sometimes I wonder whether I'm making progress at all. Playing bagua daily on my own time is still my greatest hurdle.

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June/July/August 2003

Training Notes.

Classes Tues-Sat. Noticed strength diminishing; need to re-start yoga and bicycle routine.
25 July 2003: exercise bike, daoyin warmups, standing, circle walking with dragon body.

Thoughts for the month.
Classes moved to Tuesday evenings and Saturday mornings. Not sure if that's my preference - although it does free up an evening where I don't have to wait until 10pm to eat supper! We've a greater variety of students at this time, so class is interesting by virtue of the mix of people. More thoughts later.

"Oops, did I step on your toes?"


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